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webmention.js updated

The fact that yesterday’s intent post ended up changing URLs (because I’d inadvertently titled it for 2020 instead of 2019) made it so that it made sense to finally add support for multiple incoming webmention target URLs. So I added this to webmention.js, and also to the sample beesbuzz.biz templates. So now I can slurp up arbitrarily many target URLs' mentions on any given page.

Incidentally, yesterday I ended up releasing a new version of Pushl which also has to do with URL updates. Gee, I wonder why these things both came up in such close proximity.

So anyway this is two IndieWeb-focused things in as many days and they aren’t even things I was intending to work on. But low-hanging fruit is just as tasty.

My IndieWeb Challenge 2019 aspirations

The IndieWeb community has an annual daily improvement challenge. Jacky posted his aspirations so I figured I’d post some of mine too.

I don’t plan on actually releasing everything every day (speaking of which I’m glad Novembeat 2019 is finally over with, holy heck!) but I definitely have things I want to get done this month.

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WebSub support update

Almost exactly one year ago, I wrote about the state of WebSub support in feed readers. I’ve noticed a few incoming mentions from folks citing it as definitive (when that was never my intention), and so I decided to check to see if things have changed. I’m happy to say that it has!

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Stop calling .org non-profit!

Yes, it sucks that the registry behind the .org gTLD has been sold to a for-profit corporation. But this article, and many others like it, keep on propagating a really messy misconception which I feel has done active harm:

The decision shocked the internet industry, not least because the .org registry has always been operated on a non-profit basis and has actively marketed itself as such. The suffix “org” on an internet address – and there are over 10 million of them – has become synonymous with non-profit organizations.

The Register is at least being careful to be technically correct1 here, in that the registrar is non-profit and has “become synonymous” with non-profit organizations. But the .org gTLD was never intended to be for non-profit organizations. In the original RFC, the intention was that the gTLDs were:

  • .gov: for government institutions
  • .edu: for educational institutions
  • .com: for commercial enterprises
  • .mil: for military use
  • .org: for everything else; the “org” was short for “organizational” as in “we don’t know where else to put it for now”

This was also when .net was created (despite not being in the RFC), referring to network services and infrastructure providers.

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New store up

I finally got around to doing the on-site store page like I said I should do. For now I’m using ecwid which was easy enough to integrate, although longer-term I’m going to probably switch to Snipcart or maybe try rolling my own thing with the Square cart API.

For now I only have the books and pins listed but tonight I’ll work on listing my art prints as well.

Update: Ugh ecdwid limits you to only 10 products without having to pay a monthly fee. Wellp, guess I’m going to be switching to something else sooner rather than later. 😐

Update 2: Okay now I’m on Storenvy, whose hobbyist tier seems to actually be useful for hobbyists.

iTunes Cloud Library seems better now

So, I don’t know if something changed in iOS or in iTunes Cloud Library or what, but now the cloud smart playlist thing is working a lot better now; at the very least, my cloud-synchronized smart playlist is at least doing the proper album shuffle on my phone.

It still doesn’t seem to be updating what’s in the playlist based on what’s been played/skipped recently, though. But it’s hard to tell if that just takes a while for the play stats to get updated and propagated or what. To be fair this is a hard problem.

Meanwhile, I also finally upgraded my laptop to Catalina. The new Music app is taking for-freaking-ever to sync over my library. But at least it claims to support it, after clicking “Please don’t sign me up for Apple Music” about a dozen times, and then once again saying “yes I’m sure” when I tell it to turn on syncing my actual library. But this also gave me an opportunity to see how much of my stuff is broken; the Native Instruments installer is working now, and while NI still doesn’t recommend upgrading, all of their software that I use seems to be supported.

Unfortunately, my desktop’s audio interface isn’t currently supported on Catalina, so I won’t be upgrading that any time soon. Presonus have said that they will be releasing a Catalina update for it after all (after years of saying they wouldn’t release any more updates) but there’s no timetable for it. If there’s no update in, say, 3 months, I might have to start looking into new audio hardware, and that’s expensive and I’ve yet to see another audio interface which supports (or at least advertises) the hardware submix functionality that I use on the FireStudio. I got used to that when I set up my Twitch setup but have found it to be genuinely useful for keeping my headphone and speaker mix separate regardless. It’s nice not having to deal with muting my connected microphones every time I switch to my speakers.

GeekGirlCon 2019 wrap-up post

So, GeekGirlCon was yesterday and today, and for once I vended at it, having been put on the waitlist every time I’d applied for the last few years.

I already have quite a few thoughts about how things went and how they could have gone better for me, and my thoughts about my future as a potential convention vendor. Which is to say, I probably won’t be doing this again – but not because of anything wrong with GeekGirlCon. (Just to get that out of the way.)

Note that this isn’t my first time tabling at GGC, as I had previously done so with the Seattle Indies in 2017. But that was a completely different setup for a completely different intention – promoting games and the Indies organization.

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iTunes Match kinda sucks

So remember how I was using iTunes Match and a smart shuffle app to manage my music?

Well, that hasn’t ended up working all that well.

The smart shuffle app, in particular, is incredibly unreliable and slow, and also my iTunes Match-backed library has… Issues.

Like, a lot of songs won’t sync over because of an “unspecified error” (I assume label interference, because they’re all songs from a particular label as far as I can tell), and a lot of other songs won’t sync over because they appear as “duplicates” since like… sometimes I have more than one instance of a song across multiple albums. Best-of compilations and singles releases and so on. Sometimes it does legitimately find a duplicate I want to get rid of but most of the time it’s just… not. And even when it does, it’s a crapshoot as to which one it decides is the duplicate and which is the “real” one.

Like. My whole thing is listening to albums, not individual songs, and if a song appears in multiple albums, I want it to be played within all of those albums.

At least they seem to have figured out that there are sometimes multiple versions of a song by the same artist and on different albums (like, it never seems to show the various Past Masters versions of Beatles songs as duplicates of the album versions). (Oh I guess I talked about that last time too. Obviously this is important to me.)

I’ve also noticed that playing songs on the iPhone doesn’t update the play stats in my cloud library, and even with the enormity of my library I’m still hearing albums more frequently than I’d like.

I feel like there has got to be a better way than any of this.

Oh wait, there was one, and Apple stopped bothering to support it.

Re: Why Publ won’t support magic auth links

In response to a Publ blog post, Kicks Condor writes:

One question, though—could the Atom feed list rel alternate versions of the feed? (That would have type application/atom+xml?) It also seems like rel self could have the non-authenticated version of the feed. It doesn’t make sense for credentials to be in that URL. These are possibly naive suggestions—apologies, if so. Again, fantastic write-up!

The problem is that it’s up to the sharing news reader to know which URL to use for the sharing, and there’s no way to control what URL the reader happens to use. I know that Feed On Feeds will use the URL for the actual subscription (since that’s the only source URL it tracks in the first place), and who knows what other readers with sharing features will do!

And changing the rel="self" URL has a different problem – some readers (again, such as Feed On Feeds) treat that as the canonical URL and will update their subscriptions to point to that URL instead, so setting rel="self" to the unauthenticated feed means most users will be unable to remain logged in.

Basically, it’s a tricky issue that has no right answer with the Atom spec as it currently exists. So if some other mechanism has to be designed, it might as well be done in a safe, unambiguous way from the beginning. If some other use case for magic auth links comes up I’ll reconsider implementing them, but at least for friends-only subscription access, the privacy risks are simply not worth it.

Gah

Why didn’t anyone tell me that the previous blog post was posted as a very-broken comics post

Diagnostic process

Today was a travel day to Portland, for Retro Game Expo. So of course just as the train was ready to take off was when my HMO decided to call me to do the ADHD diagnostic intake. I asked if I could just call back later when I wasn’t likely to lose coverage in 3 minutes, and eventually I got the phone number to call.

So, when I got to Portland I called the number, where they immediately put me on hold for 30 minutes. After which they asked me what I was calling about, and when I said I was calling about getting my ADHD screening, they put me on hold for another 15 minutes. Not a great start.

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ADHD

So, this post about signs of undiagnosed ADHD showed up on one of my fibro communities and so much of it seemed PRETTY FAMILIAR, and I also found out that fibromyalgia and ADHD are highly comorbid, and then I was realizing that I stopped being able to focus on work and Getting Stuff Done when I had to go cold turkey on caffeine when my panic disorder started in 2011, and, wellp.

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Using Firefox as my primary browser

For a while my browser usage has been Safari as my primary and Firefox as my backup (for the rare site that didn’t work in Safari, usually due to the “modern” web being terrible), mostly because it gave me good integration with the iCloud Keychain as well as a few nice little handoff things (migrating sessions between computers/my phone, autofilling SMS OTP keys, etc.).

However, ever since the most recent Safari update, I’ve been finding it to be incredibly unstable or troublesome in a lot of ways (like entering a URL causing it to not actually load said URL, or feedback just plain being lost), and of course the recent loss of the 1Password 6 extension has made it less pleasant as well. (I have reasons for not wanting to upgrade to 1Password 7, but that’s a whole other rant.) Also, as nice as the iCloud Keychain is, Safari’s password autofill has always had problems on a lot of sites, and the fact I had to run it side-by-side with 1Password to get my passwords available on Windows machines was getting pretty annoying.

So, I decided to actually try Firefox as my full-time browser on macOS, and so far I’m liking it.

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Stop it with the zero-calorie sweeteners

I love my Sodastream carbonator. But I don’t like how all of its soda syrups have “50% less sugar” by them replacing it with Stevia or sucralose. Yesterday at Target I saw that they had a new line of syrups that claimed to be made of just fruit juice, and I looked at the ingredients, and didn’t see anything problematic, so I bought some.

Just now I made a cup of soda with it, and at the first sip realized that they’d snuck Stevia in. I looked at the ingredients again, and there was at the very end, steviol glycosides – the distilled essence of what makes Stevia Stevia.

So, that’s $10 down the drain, literally.

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waffling

Just an incredibly dorky ramble I posted on a Slack chat, which I am saving here for posterity.

okay so someone put the idea of getting a waffle fry cutter in my head (not naming names, as it was in a private channel) and I went to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy one only to find that the BB&B herre closed down sometime, and so I went to Target and found that they had, like, no knives or cutters anymore. I’m not gonna spend $100 on one at Sur La Table so I guess Amazon is my best bet. Anyone have any suggestions on waffle fry cutters there?

Rippled knife is okay, mandolin-style slicer would be better. In the latter case, it’d be great if it’s a good mandolin on its own too.

I already have a decent flat-blade mandolin cutter but I wouldn’t mind an upgrade in that department either.

or I mean I guess I could just buy pre-made frozen waffle fries too, honestly that’s probably a better deal

From a TCO standpoint anyway

Frozen waffle fries are about $2/pound and potatoes are about $1/pound. Waffle cutters seem to be $10-20 depending on style so that means needing to make at least 10 pounds of waffle fries before it pays off.

But think of all the other things I could waffle cut!

Like, I dunno, carrots or cucumbers or something

Jicama

Also I could experiment with the geometry of doing waffle cuts at angles other than 90°

Imagine equilateral triangle waffles

Or with some extra work, penrose tilings

the possibilities are endless. or at least finite-but-unbounded

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Upcoming shows!

I will be tabling at two upcoming shows in the Pacific Northwest area:

  1. On October 20, I’ll be showing CATcher at the Portland Indie Game Squad “indie arcade” booth at Retro Gaming Expo, alongside a bunch of other indie games. Come check us out at table 3500 in the arcade (right by the concessions)!
  2. On November 16 and 17 I’ll be running my own vendor table at GeekGirlCon, where I’ll be selling comics, pins, prints, and possibly some other stuff. I’ll be at table 101, right in the corner nearest the escalators; see this handy map!

How the heck I can listen to music the way I want to

Okay, after posting my rant, someone on a Slack I’m on pointed me to Smart Shuffle, an alternate player for iOS which plays music the way I want to listen to it. (Thanks, Roman!)

I also signed up for iTunes Match, which provides the only part of Apple Music I care about (while also costing way less). And it seems to be doing a good job of pre-populating my device with music, and Smart Shuffle is able to play from iCloud while I’m on wifi and then automatically switch to stuff that’s locally cached when I’m not on it, so hopefully that makes for a reasonably seamless experience.

I guess with the vast quantity of music I have at this point I don’t really care about play stats for excluding stuff I’ve heard recently since I have so much of it that it’s less likely for duplication to happen like that.

The iPhone does have a setting for how much music to prefetch but as far as I can tell there’s no way to tell it which playlists/songs/whatever to prioritize; as far as I can tell it intends to focus on stuff that I listen to already, which is pretty much the opposite of what I want.

I suppose that if I care incredibly deeply about having proper randomness available on my phone I could just get a 512GB iPhone when I inevitably upgrade. I guess that’s a decision I can make next time I’m in Portland (which is in just two weeks).

One annoyance with iTunes Match so far is that it refuses to cloud-upload songs which it sees as duplicates. Fortunately its duplicate detection seems to be a lot better than in the bad old days of just matching artist and title, but unfortunately it still means that if you have an artist who has released multiple close-enough-to-each-other versions of the same song on different albums, or has released a best-of compilation, you’ll only get one rendition of it and it won’t appear in all the albums, and you can’t even choose which one is the canonical album placement. Kind of annoying. But less annoying than all the other things iTunes annoys me with, I guess.